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Courtesy of the filmmaker


Here at the Water’s Edge

Saturday, Oct 15, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Location: Bartos Screening Room

With Tom Hurwitz and Manfred Kirchheimer in person

Dirs. Leo Hurwitz, Charles Pratt. 1962, 60 mins. 16mm. In collaboration with the unsung still photographer Charles Pratt, best known for his posthumous collection “The Edge of the City,” a photographic record of New York City’s peripheries, Hurwitz created his most beautiful film, a reverent, purely impressionistic voyage along the coastline and port of New York. Though framed by two short pieces from the influential avant-garde composer Henry Cowell, the otherwise ambient soundtrack—a lattice of lapping waves, chugging engines, foghorns, steam whistles, the murmur of longshoremen about their labors, and the cries of children at play—is a piece of music in its own right, and was published as such by Folkways Records as “Here at the Waters’ Edge: A Voyage in Sound.” Structured in five “passages,” the film charts a course that begins at the inland straits, far removed from the city, then gradually works its way to the heart of the clamorous waterfront itself, before pulling out to survey the shores of the Hudson at an elegiac parting distance. 

Screens with:

Colossus on the River
Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer. 1965, 15 mins. 16mm. With an eye for both the awesome effort and the human scale of the labor, Kirchheimer depicts the docking of an ocean liner (the legendary SS United States) on the waterfront, fashioning a delicate tone poem out of a once familiar ritual of coastal cities.


Bridge High
Dir. Manfred Kirchheimer. 1974, 10 mins. Digital projection. From Joris Ivens (De Brug) to Shirley Clarke (Bridges-Go-Round), the bridge film has long made up a key subgenre of city symphony. Kirchheimer’s entry in this tradition documents his half-minute crossing of the George Washington Bridge, dilating it to nearly 10 minutes in order to convey the passage’s luxurious sense of possibility.

Tickets: $15 / $11 senior and students / $9 youth (ages 3–17) / discounted for MoMI members ($7–$11). Order tickets. Please pick up tickets at the Museum’s admissions desk upon arrival. All seating is general admission. Review safety protocols before your visit.